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“They Are a Clown Show”: Media Orgs Wrestle With Covering Trump’s Campaign-Rally COVID-19 Briefings – Vanity Fair

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CNN chief Jeff Zucker has expressed regret for broadcasting Trump’s 2016 rallies, which contributed to the Republican candidate reaping billions of dollars in free airtime. Now as Trump seeks reelection, and has had to put big campaign events on hold due to social distancing, there’s been a growing call for the networks to stop carrying these de facto rallies from the briefing room. “If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV—not out of spite, but because it’s misinformation,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said Friday. “If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape, but if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should—all of us—should stop broadcasting it, honestly. It’s going to cost lives.”

The outcry from MSNBC stars continued during Monday’s briefing. Highly trusted task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci was absent after an interview in which he questioned the president’s grasp of the facts of the crisis, and Attorney General and Trump loyalist William Barr appeared instead. “There is no public benefit to this briefing,” Joe Scarborough tweeted. “The networks should all cut away. Bland pronouncements, the repeating of catch phrases daily, bad medical advice. No science, no doctors, no Fauci. Just Trump’s Roy Cohn.”

Monday’s marathon seems to have been something of an inflection point. All the broadcast and cable networks began carrying it live, but NBC, CBS, and ABC switched to their regular evening newscasts after about 20 minutes, while CNN and MSNBC cut out after the presser had carried on for a little over an hour. Fox News stuck it out until the end.

“Pretty disgraceful,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, who applauded Fox News “for keeping Americans informed.” (Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz even accused liberals on Tuesday of wanting to “suppress speech” if they’re against airing the briefings live.) “If the White House wants to ask for time on the network, they should make an official request,” CNN said in a statement. ”Otherwise we will make our own editorial decisions.” An MSNBC spokesman said, “We cut away because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.”

On Tuesday, CBS also issued a statement about its thinking on airing, or not airing, the briefings: “CBS News plans to continue covering briefings whenever possible, but may cut away for regularly scheduled news broadcasts, which many viewers depend on for delivering objective reporting and context on the developments of the day.”

White House correspondents are “split” on the value of the briefings, one of them said. “It’s Trump unleashed every day for 90 minutes, which he’s never done. I actually think letting people see the unfettered Trump is sometimes good,” this reporter said. “I think networks could adapt, and carry them live, but fact-check in real time, or monitor them and show the parts that are about public health and have good info. I don’t think trying to keep him from people because he lies is necessarily the right answer. Cover him aggressively, but let people see what he’s saying.”

For others the question comes down to the amount of guidance and information coming from the public health experts versus how much time Trump spends riffing. “That’s when the judgment changes,” a second White House correspondent said, “and I think you saw the networks making that judgment last night. I don’t think there’s any particular value to hearing him riff for an hour and a half every night, because who he is, and what his personality and character and behavior are like, is pretty well established at this point…. TV networks are in a position right now where they’re trying to serve the country. The way to do that is to help people understand this pandemic, and if he’s not advancing that goal, that’s a reason not to carry it.”

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Four-year-old Jets fan takes the social media spotlight – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
A four-year-old Winnipeg Jets fan making the most of self-isolation with his parents has garnered the attention of the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets along with hundreds of other people across social media.

Ryan Palsson convinced his mom to record a video of him singing both the Canadian National Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner. Ryan’s mom says he is a huge Jets fan and normally likes watching Stacey Nattrass, the NHL national anthem-singer for the Jets, belt out the anthems.

But with home-isolation and the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the NHL to postpone the remainder of the season, the boy from Riverton, Man., decided to bring some of the game to his home.

Decked out in his Winnipeg Jets jersey and equipped with a toy microphone, and after receiving an introduction from his mom behind the camera, Ryan belted out the national anthems.

“They were all pretty bored, so he wanted to be introduced just like they do at the Jets game,” said Ryan’s mom Angie.

“He loves to sing. He’s always been very keen on music. When he listens, he seems to very intently listen to what’s being played.”

Since posting the videos, Angie said both the NHL and the Winnipeg Jets have asked to share the videos, and Stacey Nattrass even commented on the videos.

Angie said Ryan got his musical talents from his great grandmother, Dorothy Johnson, who played with Johnny and his Musical Mates, a folk band that gained popularity in the 1950s across Manitoba.

“I think she always saw something special in this one,” Angie said.

As for why Ryan wanted to post the videos, he has a very simple answer.

“Because I like singing,” he said.

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Trio of Lethbridge groups launch social media campaign to support businesses affected by COVID-19 – Lethbridge News Now

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Those who participate will be entered to win one of 10 $100 gift cards to support businesses in Lethbridge. From those who post on social media, 10 random names will be drawn, and they will get a $100 gift certificate to the business they tagged in their post.

There is no limit on the amount of posts residents can make.

Ted Stilson, Executive Director of the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, said this is the second time they’ve done a campaign similar to this.

“Now more than ever, being in it together is an important thing to do for the success of our downtown businesses and businesses throughout the community,” he said.

“We know that a lot of our businesses, as Trevor said, are pivoting into different business models, which is exciting, and we just need to continue on promoting and supporting those local businesses.”

The campaign will kick off Monday, April 6 and is set to run until May 18.

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Edmonton Institution inmate punished for speaking to media about COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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An inmate at the maximum security Edmonton Institution has been punished for speaking to the media, with his phone privileges suspended.

Jonathan Henry, 32, is serving a ten-year prison sentence for drugs and weapons-related offences. He is scheduled to apply for parole in May. 

In a story published by CBC News last Monday, Henry expressed concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I have chronic asthma,” Henry said. “I take medication for high blood pressure, so I’m more susceptible to catching whatever this thing is.” 

He also complained about the reaction from some prison staff to the pandemic. 

“They think it’s a big joke,” he said. “You’ll ask for something like a request form and he’ll pretend to sneeze on the request form. Like, it isn’t funny to me.”

Henry’s wife said that behind prison walls, there was an immediate reaction to the CBC story. 

“Apparently the guards had a meeting about him that morning,” Deanna Henry said. “I think somebody might have heard it on the radio. So they called a meeting and talked about him that morning and they decided then that they would be suspending his [phone] card for 45 days.” 

Jonathan Henry, 32, is serving a ten-year prison term for drug and weapons offences. (Deanna Henry )

All visits to the prison are forbidden due to COVID-19, so phone calls are the only way she can stay in touch with her husband. 

“I’m very upset about it,” Deanna Henry said. “I mean, this is a global pandemic that is happening right now. And for them to just cut it off for 45 days when that’s the only way for me and the kids to be able to speak to him. It’s very concerning to me.”

Henry’s lawyer calls the prison’s response “draconian”.  

“It’s appalling,” Amanda Hart-Dowhun told CBC News. “It looks like they are trying to prevent prisoners from talking and from telling the public how they are actually being treated.” 

‘Punish and muzzle’ 

As soon as she heard about the phone suspension, Hart-Dowhun sent an urgent letter to prison warden Gary Sears. 

“The suspension of Mr. Henry’s phone privileges as punishment for speaking to the media about the concerns of inmates during a pandemic creates a chilling effect,” she wrote. “That action will discourage inmates from voicing any concerns about their quality of care during this time.” 

Defence lawyer Amanda Hart-Dowhun calls the suspension of telephone privileges for 45-days ‘draconian.’ (Janice Johnston/CBC News )

On Friday, Hart-Dowhun received a response from the warden. The letter was provided to CBC News. 

In it, Sears appeared to suggest Henry had broken prison rules by speaking to a CBC journalist. 

He quoted from the inmate handbook, noting, “Third party calling is not permitted under any circumstances. Any misuse of telephone privileges, particularly third party calling, may result in an inmate’s phone privileges being restricted or suspended for a period of time.”

The response didn’t satisfy Hart-Dowhun or Henry’s wife. 

Deanna Henry said her husband was never given a copy of the inmate’s handbook when he was transferred to Edmonton Institution. 

Hart-Dowhun sent a letter Friday to the Public Safety Minister, the Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada and correctional investigator Ivan Zinger, asking for their help to resolve the situation.

“I ask that you take steps to intervene in this decision and allow Mr. Henry to have contact with the community during this health crisis,” she wrote.

“This censoring of an inmate in the wake of him publicizing his fears and the conditions inside of prison is appalling. It gives the appearance that CSC will punish and muzzle any inmate that publicly voices concerns about their treatment during this pandemic.”

The correctional investigator declined comment on the case in an email to CBC News, but said he would investigate the situation. 

Inmate rules for speaking to media 

Esther Mailhot, a CSC communications officer, responded to a request for comment from CBC News with a reminder that journalists “are required to inform CSC of their requests” to interview an inmate. 

Mailhot added that prisoners are also “responsible for informing their parole officer of their interest in being interviewed by the media.”   

She declined to comment on Henry’s case, citing privacy reasons. 

Meanwhile, Deanna Henry sits by the phone, willing it to ring. 

“It’s extremely frustrating and we’re sitting here worried about him,” she said. “We don’t know if maybe he’s going to start showing symptoms and has no way of calling us and letting us know.”

The most recent CSC statistics indicate three inmates at the Edmonton Institution have been tested for COVID-19. Two of the tests have been negative, while the third result is pending. 

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